Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Power of Cute: A True Story that Proves my Theory

I can prove my theory about "The Power of Cute."  I believe that things that can be cute, should be cute.  I know from experience that people respond to beautiful colors, pretty pictures, unexpected touches.  

The power of cute is when you add a touch that people notice and appreciate, even value more because of the effort you made.  Cute is free.  It is the difference between making cookies in the shape of a watering can, instead of a circle.  The cookie cutters cost the same, the effort to make a cookie is the same, but one harnesses the power of cute; the other does not.

Okay, my story...

Because I make Delight Totes (day bags that feature my magazine covers), I have the artwork I created for many gorgeous magazine covers. Here are some displayed on the wall in my studio.
I decided that the Delight covers would make awesome luggage tags.  I printed them to fit inside small laminated pouches and included only my name and phone number on the other side.  They turned out really...cute.

When Dan and I were leaving on our trip to Dallas last month, we had 4 suitcases and 2 carry on bags.  I put my new Delight luggage tags on in a hurry and when I pointed to a bag and asked Dan, does that one "have a tag" he said yes.  When we got to the airport, I noticed that it did indeed have a tag, it was just an ugly old red plastic one that he had written on with a Sharpie pen to update the phone etc.  Not cute, but it was accurate and would do the job.

We checked our 4 black non-descript bags: 3 with a Delight tag, 1 with an old tag.  The polar vortex snowstorm was in full steam that day and we couldn't fly out.  Some flights did make it out (it was -14 degrees), but it took us three trips to the airport to finally get on a flight (that actually took off) for Dallas.

When we got to baggage claim in Dallas, we were looking for our 4 bags that had been "in the system" for 4 days without us.  The computer said that they had made it to Dallas days before we did.
Baggage claim had at least 300 bags in rows and sections waiting to be claimed.  It was a mess.  We walked up and down each row and couldn't find any of them.  Alarmed, Dan went to the luggage claim woman and showed her our claim checks and the "arrived in Dallas" printout.  She looked at the name on the paperwork and said, "I know where they are!" and rushed into the little glass office.

She returned rolling the first of 3 bags.  The only bags she had pulled aside and kept in her office were our 3 bags, tagged with Delight.  We thanked her, but said their was still one missing.  She was surprised and helped us look bag-by-bag through the other 300 pieces of luggage.  We finally found the 4th bag (tagged with the plain tag) among the masses of bags. We were relieved, but I couldn't get over the fact that the Power of Cute had given three of our bags such special attention.

Same black bags.  Same flight.  Same "priority yellow sticker."  The only difference was my pretty luggage tags.  They somehow sent a message to this women that I cared about my bags and the contents.  They "stood out" to her and she treated them accordingly. 

That is the Power of Cute. 

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